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Features Shutdown influences local opinions

The government is open for business again. Just as the public was starting to see the effects of the government shutdown, the United States Congress finally passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling and avoided default. Public support for Congress as described by various media outlets seems to be waning on a national level, but what do the citizens of Macon County think about the latest crisis that has been averted for the time being?

Franklin resident Gary Sutton was keen to answer questions about his feelings towards the shutdown, placing blame on all members of Congress.

“Every one of them are to blame. All they had to do was sit down and find a way to compromise, but they couldn't even do that until the people that they are supposed to represent was pushed to their limits,” said Sutton.

He thinks that even though members of congress reached a deal this time around, it will be the same situation when January comes.

“All they did was come up with a short term solution,” he said. “In January, we'll be in the same spot. I think that every one of them should be voted out and replaced with people who want what is in our best interest.”

The thing about the shutdown is that it could have different effects on different people says Ann Shepherd who uses social security as a means to get by.

“It didn't hurt my social security this time, but next time it very well could,” she said. “The problem is that you find yourself wondering if they even know that people like me are relying on the decisions they make.”

Nowadays, you can turn the television channel to programs about “doomsday preppers” and survivalists. If you have missed that scenario, you may have opened up your internet browser to see panic flowing through social media sites and people discussing the need to be prepared for a worse case scenario if officials did not reach an agreement to end the shutdown. Shepherd doesn't know if all of that is necessary, but she is still glad that she managed to can some of the vegetables that neighbors gave to her this year.

“I thought I was just getting ready for the winter like usual, but you never know how things may go,” she said. “Hopefully if the same thing happens in January and things were to be even worse, I would at least have enough packed away to be okay.”

2014 is an election year for all House members and half of the members of the Senate. It is possible that the country could see a mass exodus of elected officials from both chambers. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll put the approval rate of Congress at 12 percent. Another USA Today/Princeton Survey Research Associates poll showed that 47 percent of Americans say Congress would be better if every member were voted out.

Shepherd echoed the statements that Sutton had previously made which resembled the 47 percent.

“If there were good ones when they went into office, I'm afraid they're not now or they've at least gotten to a point where they're not able to get anything done,” she said. “Maybe we would be better off if we just voted every one of them out.”


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